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Favorite Things gift exchange

10 Dec

For the third year in a row, my five girl friends and I have done a “Favorite Things” gift exchange. Very similar to Oprah’s “Favorite Things” shows of the past, (except not at all like her multi-million dollar gifts) we assign a price-per-gift limit ($10 this year) and buy 4–of the same–of one of our favorite things to hand out at the gift exchange. I love this idea because there’s something really fun about sharing something that you personally love with your friends. In my circle, we each have sort of different styles and degrees of high-maintenance but somehow, this gift exchange just works. With me being the self-professed most high-maintenance in the group, I find it entertaining to push my less high-maintenance friends a wee bit out of their comfort zone with my gifts. At least this year I didn’t hand out thongs (you think I’m kidding, don’t you?).

So, while it’s not necessarily style-related, I thought you might get a kick out of seeing what we gave and received in our “Favorite Things” gift exchange this year:

First up is the gift that I gave everyone: My favorite mascara for bottom lashes only. The brush is perfectly sized for reaching the tiny lower lashline and the formula is super smudge and water-resistant, so that you don’t end up with clumps or “raccoon eyes.”

Available here: Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

And, here are the gifts that I received…the favorite things of my friends:

First up, from my friend, Sarah: the marvelous baker and lover of all kitchen gadgets…a spatula that doesn’t touch the counter when you set it down! Brilliant!

Joseph Elevate Spatula

Available here: Joseph Elevate Spatuala

Next up, from my friend, Elizabeth–her favorite fragrance–that even her fragrance-averse husband (not only) tolerates, but loves:

Available here: L’Occitane Verbena Frangrance

And, last but not least, my friend, Stacie who (along with Sarah <above>) has reignited our interest in jigsaw puzzles–and caused quite a neighborhood trend of puzzle-exchanging–gave us each one of these:

Puzzle

Available here: Eurographics 1000 piece puzzles

At our Favorite Things exchange brunch

At our Favorite Things exchange brunch

(Our friend, Katie was sadly ill today and couldn’t attend, hence the missing favorite thing from my list.) 

This is my favorite way to exchange gifts. It’s so much easier than trying to guess what someone else might like and it’s fun to try something that you  might otherwise not have tried. Do you have any fun ways of exchanging gifts with your friends?

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Two of my new favorite things

14 May

I’m not a huge product person. I barely wear make-up and the only product I use on my hair is Big Sexy Root Boost. But I have thin hair, even thinner since I lost a lot of it after giving birth to my second son. It’s finally growing back in but because I have long hair, it’s taking some time. I came across The Small Things Blog maybe a year ago. Initially I loved it for the hair tutorials but I’ve come to enjoy her fashion posts and she recently started a new Favorite Things segment. In this segment she talks about Oscar Blandi Hair Lift Mousse. The way she describes it in her video intrigued me right away. I had to try it. So I did. I LOVE IT. Anyone with thin hair needs to try this product. It will def be one of my staples from now on.

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Next up is my new favorite pair of jeans. I got them from no other than…EBAY! However! I know in one of my earlier posts that I mentioned how much I LOVE eBay and I’ve never had an issue. BAH! I just had the weirdest experience ever. I order these jeans and soon after I made the payment I got an email from the seller saying that she thinks she accidentally sent me the wrong jeans but that she sent the correct jeans that day.  I told her I would let her know when I opened them and would return them no problem but that she would have to pay for shipping. I got the package on Saturday so I opened them and they were the right pair. They looked identical to the picture on eBay.  I emailed her and said maybe she had mistaken since I got the right pair. I assumed if I was going to get the wrong pair, I would get them first since she shipped them first. She told me I was wrong and then she demanded a picture. She did agree that the was the right pair when I sent the picture but then got all crazy about where was the second pair….how should I know?  I thought she was a little rude to me for something that I cannot control. I told her that I would never keep jeans I didn’t pay for and that she didn’t need to be rude to me about it. I would gladly ship them back to her if they ever came but that had not arrived. She responds saying that she’s trying to figure out my “scamming technique” on how I’m getting two jeans for the price one.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, IS THIS CHICK FOR REAL???

Yes, I went in YOUR closet and shipped MYSELF two pairs of jeans. OMG.

Anyway, I did get a second package yesterday and I just sharpied out my address, wrote return to sender on the package and threw them down the mail slot at the post office in full angry force just for dramatic effect. SO ANNOYED!

I’m so in love with this new pair of jeans. I have tried them on before but would never never ever pay that much for jeans but I found these on eBay for 24.99. I bid on them and won since no one else did! Yahoo! I always have issues with saggy butt jeans and these are not them. 7 For All Mankind.

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No saggy butt!

 

 

Weekend Casual

2 Apr

Friday we spent the day out as a family. First stop was the mall which was actually my husbands idea. I was shocked. Often times I struggle with the casual look. I feel like I can pull off two looks; the dressed up for work look (read business casual) and the outdoors look (read fleece, jeans, Merrill’s, fitted tee, yoga pants). The casual looks make me uncomfortable…boots, skinny jeans, cardi, scarf….I don’t know why this is. I have no answers to my madness. I think it looks fantastic on others.

Anyway, I had recently picked up up two cute casual sweatshirts at Target & I decided to give them a go.

For the family outing on Friday I went with this:

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Like I said the shirt is from Target. I love it. Very flattering & comfortable. The jeans are from Gap (this year) & the shoes are from American Eagle circa 2010. I love those flats. I felt good in this out fit. Comfortable but stylish.

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Saturday morning we did an egg hunt with the kiddos & their cousins in our yard. I decided to go a bit more casual but this other sweatshirt I picked up from Target was perfect.

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I definitely sported my Merrill’s (my favorite shoes, to be honest) for this backyard event. And these are by far my favorite jeans from American Eagle (2012). My only wish is they were not so destructed but while I might not wear them out for anything important, I absolutely wear them a lot. I love them for the way they lay over my Merrill’s. Some jeans are just not the jeans to wear with athletic or hiking shoes but these are perfect. I’m very picky about how the bottom of my jeans rest on particular shoes (flats, hiking shoes).

Anyway, I love this sweatshirt. I especially love the length & how it fit.

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Let’s be honest though, I am ready to ditch these sweatshirts for warmer days. We are still quite chilly & frosty for Michigan this time of year. Come on, Spring!!

Super Surprise Super Bargains!

13 Mar

Bargains! We all love them, obviously.  You wait and wait and the shoes you’ve been drooling over to go on clearance, or you raid the sale racks at Anthro and find the perfect top at the perfect price for you (which is probably marked down 80% from the original price.)  But have you ever picked up something on a whim, maybe at a store known for lower-quality products, and it ends up being a lasting, versatile staple of your wardrobe?  I love it when that happens.

See: this top:

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Apologies for my dirty bathroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of my most-worn items.  It is a light-weight black v-neck sweater I swear I picked up for $6 at Old Navy about 4 or 5 years ago.  I wear this at least once every two weeks all year long, as it goes with everything, and is really comfortable.  You guys, I machine wash this sweater and dry it on high heat.  It hasn’t pilled, lost any shape, or faded at all.  It’s a miracle top!

Every time I wear this top I think about what an incredible surprise deal it was.  Do you have anything like this in your closet?

Success

20 Feb

I put together an outfit last week that reminded me of a few style lessons I’ve learned over the years, but don’t always apply. The result was cute and got an embarrassing amount of compliments. Seriously. It must have been a slow Friday because the women in my office actually were emailing about this outfit and one purposely stopped by my office to check it out.

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Lesson #1: Wear what you love.

Every piece in this outfit is something I wholeheartedly love and feel good in. Confidence and comfort are the best accessories.

 

Lesson #2: Mix high and low.

This little black dress was a bit pricey. I bought it a few years ago for a party, but specifically looked for something classic I could repurpose under a jacket or cardigan for work. It’s a basic black sheath dress from White House/Black Market with some seaming around the waist. I don’t remember the exact price — it was more than $100 but less than $200. But everything else in this outfit was CHEAP. The tights were $3, at most, on sale at Target. The scarf and sweater were from the Loft sale rack — I first bought the scarf as a cover up for nursing Beastie, who is now 3 — and the booties were $15.

 

Lesson #3: Play to your strengths.

Neon green is not a color for everyone and it’s not a color that’s always trendy. But it is a color that looks good on me, a fact I’ve known since I was in middle school. At 12 or 13, I had a neon green turtleneck that yielded compliments every time I wore it.

 

What style successes have you had lately?

 

Go To Outfit

29 Jan

A friend of mine and I were chatting about those mornings; you know, the kind where you absolutely cannot be late and everything goes wrong? You spill your coffee on your pants, your hair won’t behave, your dog chewed up one of your shoes, that kind of morning… What do you reach for in the closet?

My go to is always a suit. Black pants, black jacket, and a simple cotton shell or cami (I have about 10 in different colors). I keep black shoes in a drawer at my desk, so I can always wear whatever shoes I find at home and change when I get into the office.

What’s your go to on days when you have to dress well but the world is against you? Do you reach for a particular dress, a suit, or some other outfit or do you default to whatever is cleanest and not too wrinkled?

My White T-Shirt Problem (Or Is It…?)

10 Jan

Do you have A Thing that you can never resist buying? I do, and it’s t-shirts. White t-shirts, specifically. I really feel you can never have too many. I wear them under blazers, cardigans and scarves when it’s chilly out, and over shorts and bathing suits in the summer. My white t-shirts are in constant rotation, so when I find a good one, I buy several. I rotate them out often because any yellowing is a deal-breaker. You turn yellow? You’re OUT.

Anyway, the Gap is most often where I find my favorite t-shirts. They are usually relatively inexpensive to start, and they go on sale quickly so I am often found greedily adding multiple t-shirts to my cart like a crazy Howard Hughes-type person. Well, I’m not sure Howard Hughes collected t-shirts. But if he did, I’d be channeling him.

I digress, you guys. I don’t even know. But here is my latest t-shirt obsession: the Gap Essential V-neck pocket T. It comes in 14 colors but obviously I will be buying many white ones, as is my custom. And guess what? If you’re not a v-neck gal like I am, it also comes in a crew version!

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So now you know my shopping weakness. What do you like to stock up on?

Photo credit: gap.com

Practical and cute wallets

12 Dec

Last month, I was in a local shop looking for a gift to take to The Blathering and, just before finding the perfect Florida-themed door prize, I found the perfect new wallet. It was bright, cheerful — and it zipped. The wallet I had been using clicked shut, just like the last three wallets, and just like the last three, the clasp was losing its grip after a few months. A wallet that just randomly opens in your purse isn’t exactly safe, especially when you’re traveling, so, honestly, the zipper sold me.

TCHY6320_md.jpgAfter using it for a month, I can say it’s a great wallet. The material is almost like an oil cloth — meaning it doesn’t stain when I spill coffee juggling it and my peppermint mocha. It’s got a space for my phone, so I can use just it if I don’t want to carry a purse. There’s space for plenty of cards and all the other crap I stuff in there. And it zips, which means I don’t have random coins, cash, receipts or anything else rattling around my purse.

The print on mine has more flowers. More like this tablet case.TCBZ6320_md.jpgI know it’s a little old lady-ish, but I like it. I find it cheerful, the kind of thing that makes me smile every time I use it. The company, All For Color, has a few other patterns. If you find something you like, I can attest to the functionality.

Should I splurge?

28 Nov

Ages ago, I was at Anthropologie with friends — lovely, enabling friends — and I tried on this dress:

I had just cut my hair off short and felt like Mia Farrow in this dress. I wanted this dress. And my wonderful friends really encouraged me to get it.

But.

It was short, probably too short for work, at least without tights, and I live in Florida where weather rarely necessitates leg coverings. It also was $188. I have bought full price items in Anthro before and felt no guilt. My $100 pants from there bought seven years ago still get worn on a regular basis. But even I couldn’t justify a nearly $200 purchase for a dress that probably would be reserved for mostly special occasions. So, I left it at the store and took home this one instead — cute but much more versatile.

I love that red dress, but I’ve thought often of the blue one. The polka dots are flocked! My hair goes so well with it! It’s so swingy! I’ve checked occasionally on the site, stalking for sales, which is something I never do. It’s now on sale for $100. My birthday is this month. Should I splurge?

What I’m Wearing

16 Oct

Here’s a few things I wore over the last week and a half:

I’m getting a lot braver when it comes to prints. I’ve always been a little nervous especially when it comes to animal prints but I picked up this scarf at Target this year and I have gotten so many compliments. The day I wore this, I got 3 alone. I paired it with a thin black sweater from Gap.

I always wear a tank under everything and I try to do a color that stands out between my top and my bottom. That day I chose white. My pants are from Express. They are the editor edition. I love them.

A few years ago when I bought my suit from New York & Co, the pants were buy one get one half off. None of the pants I would have picked first were available in my size, but I didn’t want to pass up such a deal. I ended up with this pair of not brown, but not grey pants. They have always confused me. I decided to always wear them like they are brown because when I put brown shoes next to them it looks better then when I put black shoes next to them. I really love the fit! This day I wore them with a v-neck grey sweater from Target, and blue button up shirt (but with a white collar) and the grown (grey and brown) pants and brown shoes.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this outfit. I sort of put it together in my head as I was falling asleep the night before but I ended up loving it. That sweater from Target is so soft and comfortable, btw. I don’t have a picture of the shoes I wore that day, but I want to tell you about them. I picked them up at Payless (no judgment) and they have the comfort plus in them. Holy comfort, Batman. Wait! I found a picture!

My favorite pair of black shoes are ripping. They are patent and I don’t know why, but I’m in love with the shiny shoe! Since this job is only temporary, I’m trying really hard not to go crazy and spend a ton of money, but if something changes, I might go get the black version of the above brown version. Look how pretty.

Lastly, what is your favorite fall color this year? Have you noticed any color sticking out more than others? I have. It’s the royal blue and I’m in love with it. I picked up this sweater at Target too, and again…the comfort, the softness, the price…I’m impressed! Plus, sometimes with color fads, I don’t like to spend a lot of money. But I am really loving it.

I can’t find this specific style on the Target site, but it was right by the v-neck sweaters I linked to above, this one is just a crew neck instead. I paired it with those grey pants again (I promise, a week apart!) and a black tank underneath. I have a black and white striped shirt I want to pair up underneath this blue but I thought that would look better with black pants and I already had this on. Time crunch! Sorry, no breakfast today kiddos, momma was having an outfit crisis! is not going to fly.I’d probably take a cereal bowl to the head if I tried that on either one of my boys. Ha! And yes, that is some serious laundry that I did put away this past weekend.

So there’s what I wore. More of what I’m wearing over the next few weeks is coming on my next post two weeks from today!